RED OAK — Former Texas House Representative Jim Pitts was formally honored on the Texas State Technical College campus in Red Oak for his dedication and work to bring the institution to Ellis County.

During the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled in his honor, officially dedicating the Industrial Technology Center in his name.

The Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center is home to 10 technical programs with state-of-the-art labs for students to develop skills critical to the workplace. Those programs vary from welding, cyber security, diesel equipment technology to logistics technology, precision machining technology and more.

The Texas State Technical College (TSCT) North Texas campus also serves as a dual-credit option for Red Oak High School students.

“It’s really exciting, that we were able as a group effort — with Scott Nimitz, mayor [Alan Hughley], we were able to bring this facility to Ellis County," Pitts said. "I didn’t care where it went as long as it was Ellis County. This is so convenient to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area."

Pitts added, “Oh, I could cry.”

TSTC Chancellor and CEO Mike Reeser introduced Pitts first as a neighbor and a civic leader. Reeser reminisced on the first time he met Pitts during the 2013 legislative session at the Texas State Capitol.

“During the session, Pitts introduced legislation that was sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell authorizing the creation of a TSTC extension center in Ellis County,” according to a TSTC press release.

While at the Capitol, Reeser said Pitts shared his thoughts on giving young adults the tools to make a difference in their communities.

“We know Jim as somebody who makes things happen and appreciates that there are a lot of pathways for kids to be a successful citizen in Texas,” Reeser said.

Within two years of that conversation in Austin, millions of dollars of funds were raised to help build and operate the building.

Pitts said, “It’s a dream that has come true to see this facility up and going.”

“Pitts was a Republican member of the state House of Representatives representing House District 10 from 1993 to 2015 and was chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. He was named one of the state’s 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine in 2005, 2009 and 2013,” according to a TSTC press release.

“I miss the legislature, and I miss doing good things for Ellis County,” Pitts added.

Pitts previously served as president of the Waxahachie Independent School District Board of Trustees, president of the Chamber of Commerce, director of Citizens National Bank, director of Sims Library, president of the Board of Trustees for Waxahachie’s Baylor Scott and White Medical Center and both president and treasurer of the Board of Trustees for Presbyterian Children’s Services.

In 1999, Waxahachie honored Pitts as Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

Pitts currently owns the Ellis County Abstract and Title Company in addition to practicing law.